Utah State’s 2013 football schedule was released Thursday and is highlighted by five teams that earned bowl bids a year ago and two teams that finished the 2012 season nationally ranked, as well as a full slate of Mountain West opponents.
Utah State will play four of its first five games on the road, including its first-ever Mountain West game. USU will then finish the year by playing five of its final seven games at home on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. The last time USU began a season with four of its first five games on the road was 2009.
Utah State’s six home games will be against in-state foes Weber State (9/14) and BYU (10/4) in non-conference outings, along with MW opponents Boise State (10/12), Hawai’i (11/2), Colorado State (11/23) and Wyoming (11/30). USU’s two non-conference road games will be against a pair of Pac-12 schools in Utah (8/29) and USC (9/21), while its four conference road games will be against Air Force (9/7), San Jose State (9/27), New Mexico (10/19) and UNLV (11/9). USU will also have two open weekends during the season on Oct. 26 and Nov. 16.
For Utah State, the 2013 schedule will mark the first time since 1998 that it faces a pair of Pac-12 schools.
“This is an exciting time for Utah State as we move into the Mountain West, and we look forward to the challenges this schedule presents,” first-year head coach Matt Wells said. “Our home schedule is an attractive one that features some great regional and in-state rivals, and our non-conference schedule includes three in-state games which is very important to our program and fan base, along with a national opponent in USC.”
Utah State, who won the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and finished the year ranked 16th in the final Associated Press standings, will host bowl teams BYU and Boise State, while traveling to 2012 bowl participants Air Force, San Jose State and USC. BSU finished the 2012 season ranked 18th in the final AP poll, while SJSU was ranked 21st.
The 2013 schedule marks the fourth-straight season and fifth time in the last six years that Utah State plays six home games. The 2013 slate also marks the third time in five years that USU will face three in-state foes, also doing so in 2009 and 2012. Prior to 2009, USU hadn't played three Beehive State teams in the same season since 2001.
Utah State will enter the 2013 season tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation with seven-straight wins, which also ranks as the third-longest winning streak in school history. USU has won 16 of its last 19 games with those three losses coming by a combined six points.
“Obviously, we are excited about joining the Mountain West and the teams we will face this year in football due to that association gives us as good of a schedule as we have had in many years at Utah State,” USU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes said. “Once again, we have balance with six home games and that fact that we are playing regional rivals on a consistent basis certainly creates excitement with our alumni and constituents.”
Utah State will open the 2013 season on the road at in-state rival Utah on Thursday, Aug. 29. In what is the oldest rivalry in school history and the 12th-most played rivalry in the nation at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, the Aggies and Utes will meet for the 111th time this fall as USU won the last meeting, 27-20, in overtime in Logan a year ago.
Utah State’s first-ever Mountain West game will be on Saturday, Sept. 7, at Air Force in just the second-ever meeting between the two schools. The Falcons, who hosted USU in their only other meeting with the Aggies back in 1969, lost to Rice, 33-14, in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in 2012.
Utah State’s home opener will be Saturday, Sept. 14, against in-state foe Weber State. It will be the second time in three years that the Wildcats have visited Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium as USU leads the overall series, 12-1-0. USU won the last meeting between the two teams, 54-17, in 2011.
Overall, Utah State is riding an eight-game home winning streak to rank as the seventh-longest in school history and its longest since the late 1960s.
Following its home opener, Utah State will play its second Pac-12 opponent of the season when it travels to USC on Saturday, Sept. 21, in the fifth-ever meeting between the two schools and first since 1989. USC concluded its 2012 season with a 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl.
Utah State’s second Mountain West game of the year will be against a familiar foe as it plays at San Jose State on Friday, Sept. 27. The Aggies and Spartans have played one another 35 times dating back to 1940. Of the 35 meetings between the two schools, 23 have been as league foes, as both were members of the Big West Conference from 1978-92 and the Western Athletic Conference from 2005-12. USU won the last meeting against the Spartans in San Jose in 2012, 49-27. San Jose State ended its 2012 season with a 29-20 win against Bowling Green in the Military Bowl.
Utah State will conclude its non-conference schedule with its third in-state game of the season against its second-oldest rival in school history as it hosts BYU on Friday, Oct. 4, in the 83rd meeting between the two schools. BYU concluded its 2012 season with a 23-6 win against the Mountain West’s San Diego State in the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Utah State’s first-ever Mountain West home game will be against Boise State on Saturday, Oct. 12, in the 18th meeting between the two schools. USU and BSU spent 11 years as league foes as both were members of the Big West Conference from 1996-2000 and members of the WAC from 2005-2010. Boise State concluded its 2012 season with a 28-26 win against Washington in the Las Vegas Maaco Bowl.
Following its home game against Boise State, Utah State will play at New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 19. Since its first meeting with the Lobos in 1951, Utah State and New Mexico have faced one another 19 times. The last meeting between the Aggies and Lobos was during the 2003 season. In all, USU and UNM have spent 11 years as league foes as both were members of the Skyline Conference from 1951-1961.
Following its first open weekend of the 2013 season on Saturday, Oct. 26, Utah State will return home and host former WAC foe Hawai‘i on Saturday, Nov. 2. Since its first meeting in 1927, Utah State and Hawai‘i have faced one another 12 times. The last meeting between the Aggies and Warriors was during the 2011 season with USU winning 35-31. The two schools spent seven years as league foes as both were members of the WAC from 2005-2011.
Utah State will play its final road game of the 2013 season the following weekend at UNLV on Saturday, Nov. 9. USU and UNLV spent 13 years as league foes as members of the Big West Conference from 1983-1995. Overall, the Aggies and Rebels have faced one another 20 times, with USU holding a 13-7 advantage in the series.
The Aggies will then have their second bye weekend of the season on Saturday, Nov. 16, before concluding its regular season with a pair of MW home games against Colorado State and Wyoming on Saturday, Nov. 23, and Saturday, Nov. 30, respectively.
Utah State will be facing Colorado State for the third time in as many years as the Aggies and Rams have faced one another 68 times in all, which is USU’s third-oldest rivalry. The last meeting between the two schools was during the 2012 season with USU winning, 31-19, in Fort Collins.
In all, USU and CSU have spent 46 years as league foes as both schools were members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference from 1916-1937 and members of the Skyline Conference from 1938-1961.
Utah State will be hosting Wyoming for the second time in the past three years after defeating the Cowboys, 63-19, in its last meeting in Logan in 2011. Like CSU, Utah State and Wyoming have spent 46 years as league foes as both were members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference from 1916-1937 and members of the Skyline Conference from 1938-1961. In all, Wyoming is USU’s fourth-oldest rival on the football field with 63 previous meetings as the Aggies lead the all-time series 35-24-4.
The inaugural Mountain West Football Championship game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 7 at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the highest BCS ranking.
Beginning in the fall of 2013, MW football membership will include Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming in the Mountain Division, and Fresno State, Hawai‘i, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV in the West Division.
Telecast information and kick off times are being finalized and will be announced later this spring.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.